5 Feb 2019 – 8:34 pm
Photo on the left, my parents shortly after they married at the end of 1956, about 6 weeks before I was born. The photo on the right, my godfather with my parents at my baptism in March 1957, about 6 weeks after I was born. About the time I would have been being born in order to actually be my Pops’ kiddo.
These photos are especially poignant today as it’s the first birthday since discovering what my parents discovered on 5 Feb 1957. That day my parents decided that we were meant to be a family, and continued to make it so for the 40+ years we had together. They called on grace then, I call on it still, regularly, in new ways.
5 Feb 2019 – 10:52 pm
A thread common in several places: the power of words like illegitimate and bastard that force people to quiet or hid truths as part of seeking respite from dehumanizing assumptions, and the power that comes in challenging those labels in saying, “Yup, that’s me.”
My “common to so many others in these threads” response: One of my grade school classmates told me I was a bastard. Didn’t have a clue what that meant, so that night my parents ‘splained it to me pretty honestly, making reference in part to the concept of *illegitimate* – ending with the only part of it I remember clearly: “People’s attitudes are what’s illegitimate.” Boom then – and still. While they never did ‘splain it all, I hope that my on-going use of this explanation gave my parents some affirmation about the choices they made.
6 Feb 2019
A common “if I may ask” question: What were you more angry with – the fact that the person you called your parent is actually not your parent or the decades of lies that were perpetuated because of it?
My common “none of the above” response: The impact on my parents of not disclosing their truths to me at some point in our adult lives together. As much as they shared with me about who they were, I can see now what they self-censored, and the cost to us as individuals and as a family.
Image – extract from “Speaking / Not Speaking” in Emilie Pine’s Notes to Self: Essays (2018)